Teaching your child a foreign language can be difficult, particularly a language you do not speak yourself. It is necessary to be creative when exploring ways to help kids learn a new foreign language. Equally, it is important to let kids feel accomplished. It's a fact that the more we achieve, the more confident we become, and the faster we can learn. This certainly applies to learning Mandarin Chinese.
One of the secrets I have found to immersing my children in their second language is children's movies dubbed in Mandarin. The kids have been watching these exact movies since they were toddlers, e.g., Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Mulan, Beauty and Beast, and more recently, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc. The dubbed movies all come with Mandarin Chinese conversation AND optional English subtitles, or vice versa. With the contents they are already familiar with, kids can learn how to conduct conversation in Chinese and understand easily without getting lost in translation because of English subtitles. You can also find Disney movies on Tudou.com, the youtube equivalent in Chinese, if you know the Chinese titles. For instance: 花木兰 - Mulan, 狮子王 - Lion King, 阿拉丁 - Aladdin, and 美女与野兽 - Beauty and the Beast.
In addition to these popular titles, we have begun to learn more about Chinese culture through film by watching movies together as a family. Some of the titles we have enjoyed include: The Road Home , Together , Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon , Postmen in the Mountains , and Not One Less. The ratings on these films vary, however, and each family needs to make their own decision about the content.
We have also had success with movies we have purchased in Chinatown. However, you need to be aware that Chinese DVDs will not necessarily play in Western DVD players. You may wish to look into this before making a purchase. If you are not comfortable messing with your home DVD player, consider buying a cheap travel DVD player in Chinatown that will play Chinese DVDs.
If you get movies from NetFlix, you can click on Genres and then Foreign Language and then Mandarin Language to see their offerings. However, they don’t appear to have children’s movies.